Environmental Health

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Environmental Health

The Rise of Obesity in Northern Ireland


Two surveys carried out in Northern Ireland in the 1990’s* indicate that in general the number of obese people is increasing. If this trend continues it is predicted that by 2010, 23% of women and 22% of men will be obese. Levels of obesity in children are also increasing. The average weight for men and for women here is higher than in both England and Scotland. In all 56% of all those whose height and weight were measured in the 1997 Health and Social Well Being Survey were either overweight (37%) or obese (19%).


The most common health problems linked to obesity are heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and osteoarthritis. According to National Audit Office figures, sustained weight loss of 5 – 10 kgs (11 – 22 lbs) could reduce the chances of fatal heart disease by 9% and could reduce the risk of cancer by more than a third.

* Health and Activity Survey 1994/Health and Social Well Being Survey 1997

What is Obesity and how can I tell if I am overweight?

Obesity is a condition in which an abnormal accumulation of excessive fat impairs health. It is defined in adults as occurring when you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 25. The Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing your weight by your height. You can use the graph below to work out your BMI. In the example given, a person of 5’7” and weighing 13 stone can be seen to be overweight.


Weight/ Height Chart

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